People

Anggun C. Sasmi: A rendezvous
with fans

JP/Jerry Adiguna

Anggun confesses that one of her biggest career fears is that she will “bore” her fans through sticking to the same old routine.

The Indonesian-born, Paris-based singer will be trying to keep things fresh when she takes to the stage at the Jakarta Convention Center on Sunday night. Titled “Konser Kilau” (the shining concert) and featuring her greatest hits, there will be an orchestra as well as her regular band for accompaniment.

“There will be different sessions, with 44 people on stage with me,” the 37-year-old said on Thursday. “In France and Italy, I do those big kind of TV shows, but this is my opportunity to combine my music with an orchestra here. Doing a concert here is always something I look forward to.”

It’s her chance to have a “rendezvous” with her local fans, she adds.

“We will have two hours together, and we will have fun! My fans know my songs so well, they know all the words, and doing a concert here is always something I dream of,” she said.

“I want to give them something new each time, because I’m always afraid they will get bored with me.”

She is a confirmed supporter of Indonesian fashion, and for many years has worn the figure-hugging bustiers and gowns of Eddy Betty. At Sunday’s concert, she will don the designs of three up-and-coming Indonesian designers: Tex Saverio, Didit Hediprasetyo and Mel Ahyar.

“I first became aware of Tex about a year ago from Perez Hilton’s blog,” Anggun says of the celebrity gossip blogger who had lauded the young designer’s stunning debut at Jakarta Fashion Week 2010.

“Didit is one of the only Indonesians to have done haute couture in Paris, and Mel is also very talented. I am just happy that they would want to dress me,” she adds with a laugh.

Anggun’s most recent album, Echoes, which has gone multiplatinum since its release earlier this year, has been cathartic in resolving some of the ups and downs of her life. She considers her homecoming concerts over the years as benchmarks in her career and life.

When she sees photos from her 2001 concert in Jakarta, she realizes she was still a “baby”, still finding her way as the former child singer who left Indonesia in the early 1990s to pursue an international career and then achieved an international hit with the 1997 album Snow on the Sahara.

Her concert in 2006 – titled “For the Nation” – came at another crossroads in her life, as she prepared to embark on a more mature phase. That has come with the arrival of her daughter, Kirana, in 2007, and her social outreach activities, including as a goodwill ambassador for the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in its efforts to fight hunger.

Her more mature public image today and her international success has gained her several high-profile advertising endorsements, including for Pantene hair-care products, the sponsor of her concert on Sunday, and for an osteoporosis education campaign of a milk producer.

“My daughter is the main difference in my life now,” she says of her homecoming concert this time around. “Everything is no longer about me and my needs, but the focus is on her. It helps me keep my perspective amid the polluting things about celebrity.”

The spectacular concert tomorrow is in contrast to the way things were when she was starting out in Indonesia. She was part of a trio of female rocks stars, along with Nicky Astria and the late Nike Ardilla.

“We would go on concert tours, squeezed into hotel rooms together,” she remembers fondly. “The press tried to make out we were rivals but we were friends, just young people having a fun time together.”

That memory is an echo of her past, and a reminder of how far she has come in life. And it has been anything but boring.

Read more about Anggun in the Dec. 16 WEEKENDER.

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